01 April 2012


On this April 1st, here are the leading "on this day" headlines from Wikipedia ~

All of which is Wiki's understated observance of April Fool's Day, when people traditionally try to play pranks on each other, or create credible public hoaxes.  Wiki's renderings of history are all true, with just a twist of wording for a bit of Monty Python humor.

Tall tales aren't restricted to April 1st ~ they are rife throughout folk history in most cultures.  In the American west, I grew up hearing about Rocky Mountain fur-bearing trout, jackalopes, ice worms, and snipe hunts, all told with perfectly straight faces.  (One of those four creatures is real.  Can you tell which one?)  Here's a list of fearsome mythical critters found in North American folklore. Rather stunningly missing from the list is the Native American Wendigo (see image above, click to enlarge).

For some seriously original April Foolery, check out The Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes of All Time.  As you browse through the Swiss spaghetti harvest and whistling carrots, see which announcements you might have been taken in by.  (OMG, not one but two dangling prepositions at the end of that last sentence!  Mr. Sherlock's ghost will haunt me for certain.)

Bringing us back to some semblance of reality, what follows is not, repeat NOT a hoax.  Smithsonian Magazine has reported the discovery of the fossilized remains of a 40-foot prehistoric snake, dubbed Titanboa.  The reptile was so massive that its back would have been as high as a man's waist.  It weighed more than a ton.  The skeletal remains were found in northern Colombia, 60 miles from the Caribbean coast.  Titanboa lived about 58 million years ago, in a region which was "an immense, swampy jungle where everything was hotter, wetter, and bigger than it is today.  The trees had wider leaves, indicating greater precipitation ~ more than 150 inches of rain per year, compared with 80 inches for the Amazon now."

Click on the Titanboa link above, and you'll discover not only the full description, but also several embedded videos, including a sneak preview of the Smithsonian Channel's documentary which will be broadcast tonight, and a hypothetical encounter between Titanboa and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Sometimes it really sucks, not having cable TV.

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